Throughout Innovate Live, there was talk of how to get Mary Baldwin students more involved in the downtown area and throughout Staunton. Students at Mary Baldwin don’t appear downtown all that often, it’s rare to find us at art gallery showings unless it’s for extra credit, we don’t frequent a lot of restaurants, and most of us don’t volunteer or intern at local shops or organizations. Part of the reason is a lack of communication between the campus and downtown. A lot of the students don’t know when there are gallery openings downtown, or about various organizations downtown. Only this semester did I really learn about the Staunton Community fund, or that the Makers Space existed. Downtown has a lot to offer, but a lot of the students don’t know about the opportunities downtown. Honestly, I didn’t even know that the people of downtown wanted more Mary Baldwin involvement.
So the question quickly became how to get more students downtown and how to increase the communication. One thing suggested was maybe getting a space downtown for students to go; others offered utilizing what is already in place more. In talking to Darren Smith about how to get students to know about his app, Traipse, I realized that many people didn’t know about ways to get out information to students. Some platforms we have are the Mary Baldwin Announcements, MBC TV, and a lot of information gets out through posters around campus. Possibly in utilizing these platforms, information can be dispersed to the students about new gallery openings, advertisements for downtown businesses and events down town. I spoke to one woman from the Beverly Street School of Art, about possibly creating a space downtown in one of the galleries for Mary Baldwin art, to get students to come down and explore. Of course, communication is a two way street, and finding more ways to get Mary Baldwin events to the people downtown, and possible hosting some events downtown is the Mary Baldwin side of this coin.
This conversation was a great start, but it needs to continue. What are some ways that you would like students to get more involved in Staunton, as well as, ideas for the community to get involved on the campus?